Thursday, July 23, 2020
Tips for Roommates – Guidelines and a Basic Contract
Apartment Sharing Guidelines
You need to be respectful of others, avoid a few obvious mistakes, and adopt a give-and-take approach that will greatly benefit you, your roommates. It is a basic list of recommendations to help you get started and have a conversation with your roommates and review and adapt to your preferences.
Setting the example
Focus on what you can do for your roommates, not the other way around, you are setting the example.
If your roommates see you do something for the team, they’ll want to be a part of the team. Be respectful, flexible and willing to compromise. Don’t be overly sensitive and let go of the small things.
Roommate Time and Space
Make some time to hang out with your roommates. you don’t have to be best friends but you shouldn’t be strangers neither.
Be respectful of their space when they need quiet or alone time.
And don’t expect to be included in all their social activities just as you don’t expect them to tag along with you all the time.
Be mindful of noise levels when your roommates are hanging around, working, sleeping or studying.
If you’re bringing friends over, make sure your roommates are OK with that in advance, it is your responsibility to make them comfortable. Same with overnight friends.
You should always clean up after yourself.
Clean also after your guests. Unless you’re co-hosting a party, your roommates shouldn’t be expected to help you clean, nor wake up in the morning to a messy living room and kitchen.
For the common areas, you should agree on a cleaning schedule, and divide the chores evenly.
Don’t borrow anything without asking, unless you have agreed in advance on what you willing to share and how.
Sharing Expenses and Bills
Split the bills evenly, it is the easiest and cleanest way to do it. And do the same for housing supplies such as cleaning products, detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, foil, trash bags, etc.
Split the bills on the main staples, so you don’t end up with four open butter sticks or salt shaker, but keep everything else separate, as everyone has different tastes and eating habits.
Never take someone else’s food, many people are very sensitive about it.
Have your Roommate’s Back
You and your roommate are part of a team. Don’t gossip about them and don’t post intimate details or anything bad about them on social media for the whole world to see.
Deal with them quickly, most of them can be resolved in one or more discussions. Don’t expect to find the perfect solution all the time, it is a process and everyone is adjusting to become a part of the team.
ADDITIONAL things to consider
Use of parking spaces
Sound system use
Behavior of guests
Should You Make a Roommate Contract?
Posted Aug 10 2016 – 02:00pm
What’s a roommate contract?
A roommate contract is an agreement (usually a written one) that helps you and your roommate settle on different rules you’ll both follow throughout the year. Most contracts dictate things such as whether or not you can have the lights on super late or super early, pet peeves you both might have and different decisions you and your roommate will have to make regarding your shared space.
Pretty straightforward, right? Roommate contracts can take on numerous forms and are sometimes required for all students living in a dorm. It’s totally up to you to decide how you want your contract to look, what should be included, whether you want a physical copy or not and who needs to know about it. Even if you don’t plan to write down every single detail of how sharing your tiny space is going to work, contracts can still be helpful. Just looking at sample contracts or different kinds of questions that would appear on such a contract can be a great place to start to discuss how the two of you will handle any issues or situations that could arise throughout the year.
What should be included?
A good roommate contract should address both of the roommates’ preferences on how the space will be used and general rules for the room. Things to think about including in your roommate contract are:
• Distractions that could interfere with studying (music, TV, friends, etc.)
• “Quiet hours” when you want to catch some zzz’s or study
• How clean the room should be, and regular cleaning times
• When is it okay to have friends over? How many people can be over?
• Rules for anything you two will share in the room (TV, fridge, microwave, etc.)
• When do you need to lock the door? How long can the room be left unlocked?
• Will the door remain open or shut when one or both of you is in the room?
• What happens when a guy comes back to the room? Can you kick one another out?
• Temperature – how cold/hot should the room be? When will windows be open?
• Steps for resolving fights or arguments
• What can you borrow or take from each other’s sides of the room? Food? Clothes?
Need some inspiration? Check out sample contracts students at universities like Case Western Reserve University are expected to fill out, or look at our sample one below. Keep in mind that you and your roommate can make changes throughout the year as well if unexpected conflicts arise.
Why should I bother writing a roommate contract?
Maybe you’ve started talking to your roommate and you’ve realized you love to stay up late, while she goes to bed so she can get up for a run at 6 a.m. every day.
If nothing else, a roommate contract is also a good fallback when a conflict arises and you and your roommate can’t seem to agree on a solution. The solution to what can seem like a challenging dilemma will be all laid out for you, making roomie peace easier to achieve!
Are there downsides to a contract?
A contract can’t serve as a catch-all for any and all problems that could occur throughout the year. Keep in mind that there’s usually nothing in the agreement that “punishes” a roommate that defaults from the agreement, making it easy to break the contract. Bringing up the initial discussion about a contract could also make things awkward straight off the bat if contracts aren’t required in your dorm. Finally, keep in mind that a contract won’t guarantee you’ll get your way. Creating a contract will require compromises from both you and your roommate, so be sure you’re ready to make some sacrifices — both of you deserve to have a comfortable living situation.
I want to make one! How do I explain it to my roommate?
If you’re not living somewhere that requires roommate agreements but are still interested in writing out one, think about trying one of the following strategies to make bringing up the idea of a contract to your new roomie a little less awkward:
• Emphasize the fact that the contract will benefit both of you. Make sure she knows that you don’t just want to make a roommate agreement to avoid her annoying you, but you also want to make sure you don’t do anything that bugs her.
Do contracts like these actually work?
There’s a reason so many schools require agreements like the ones described above – they’re successful! Says Nicole Gartside from NYU, “Though my roommate and I had no major issues (in fact, we were best friends!), it was always reassuring to know that in case there was ever a conflict, we had a written contract that we could refer back to to clarify what we agreed on in the first place.”
The key, though, is being honest and upfront during the contract creation process. Shaye shares her story:
“As a transfer living in the dorms my first year, I had to make a contract with my roommate. We talked and I told her all of my thoughts, but in turn she wasn’t too honest with me,” Shaye says. “She really hated boys in the room and always felt uncomfortable when I brought friends back. She also loved going to bed early, but told me when we were making the contract that she liked to leave the lights on late. This in turn left us hating each other. It’s really important to be honest that way you can make sure you are keeping each other happy.”
What happens when my roommate or I break the contract?
When a roommate contract violation occurs, be honest and upfront about it. If you’re the one that violated it, ask your roommate to sit down and discuss the violation if necessary. If something was damaged or broken, offer to pay some portion of the cost to fix or replace it. If your roommate was the one who violated the agreement, follow the same procedure. Find a time when the two of you can sit down privately and calmly discuss what happened. You can decide if you want to edit or change the contract to prevent a similar problem from occurring again, or if there’s some way to enforce things a bit better.
Don’t forget those manners that have been drilled into your head since the days of Barney & Friends, but be sure to speak your mind and share what you’d be okay with and what makes you uncomfortable to make sure your space really is a place you’re proud and happy to call home.
Roommate One: ____________________________________
Roommate Two: ____________________________________
Smoking will be allowed in the room: __Yes __No
Drinking will be allowed in the room: __Yes __No __During these specific times:_____________
These hours will be reserved for sleeping: ______________________
When one roommate is sleeping, the other roommate may:
__Listen to music with headphones
__Have guests over
__Use a hairdryer
__Have the lights on
__Have a desk lamp on
We will keep our room __Messy __In between __Neat
We will clean the room __Daily __Weekly __Monthly __Other: __________
Our cleaning will include:
__Doing laundry before the basket overflows
__Washing dishes after using them
__Taking out the trash and recycling once a week
__Vacuuming once a week
__Making our beds daily
During these hours a roommate may have friends over: _________________
A roommate may have _____ friends over at once
Overnight guests are allowed: __Yes __No __Only if they are female
Before a roommate has an overnight guest, they will warn the other roommate __days in advance.
How often may a roommate have an overnight guest? ________________________________
Roommate policy on overnight guests (i.e. if it is okay to request that the other roommate leave): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
List of items that may be shared:
List of items that may NOT be shared:
List of items that may be shared as long as the roommate asks beforehand:
List of items that may be shared as long as the roommate replaces them/returns them as they were found:
The door will be locked:
__When neither roommate is there
__When one roommate is there
__When both roommates are there ?
__At these specific times: ______________________________
We will leave the door open:
__When one person is in the room
__When both of us are in the room
__The door will always be shut
The windows may be open during these times: _______________________
An acceptable temperature range for the room during the day is: ______
An acceptable temperature range for the room during the night is: _______
In the case of an argument, we will: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In the case of a violation of this contract, we will: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Additional items to consider: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________